ITV bosses are reportedly considering cancelling Dancing On Ice, after it was beaten in the ratings by Countryfile last weekend.
The ice skating show, featuring Olympic skating legends Torvill and Dean, used to be a huge viewers draw for the channel when it first launched, however over the past few years ratings have been steadily falling and last Sunday they reached an all time low.
The latest series has seen some of the worst viewing figures since the format was launched in seven years ago, in 2006 and back then more than 13 million people tuned in to see Coronation Street star Gaynor Faye win with her professional partner Dan Whiston.
An ITV spokesman has claimed that bosses are “planning” to commission another series for 2014, however an insider told The Mirror that there are rumblings and rumours of an axe.
“There’s been a lot of chatter on set that there will not be a ninth series. The powers that be are unimpressed with viewing figures, especially considering how much it costs to produce… they don’t know what to do.”
The show seemed to lose it’s sparkle in 2012, when Holly Willoughby left to be replaced by Christine Bleakley and Jason Gardiner was dropped and replaced by Louie Spence. Ratings fell to an all time low of 6.4 million viewers but hopeful bosses decided a sake up could save the series.
This year they brought Jason back and replaced ice skating expert Katarina Witt with Pussycat Dolls star Ashley Roberts. The producers reportedly paid £150,000 for Pamela Anderson to join the lineup, a move which backfired as she was voted off during the first weekend.
Last Sunday’s viewing figures were very poor, with only 6.73 million people tuning in while for the main show, and 5.4 million returned to ITV1 to watch the results show and the elimination of Shayne Ward.
The source said: “The format was a gamble but it turned into a success story. The first final with 13 million viewers was an incredible achievement and ended up being the third-highest rated show of 2006.
“Those kinds of figures were maintained for the next few years and DoI became one of ITV’s flagship programmes.
“Even when viewing figures started to slip a little bit, there was no sense of panic but last year was a cause for concern. The first show launched with a respectable 8.4 million, but lost two million viewers halfway through the series.
“To be fair to ITV, they refused to be defeated and ploughed a huge amount of money into thisyear’s show.
“They got rid of Louie Spence from the panel and brought back Jason, who has definitely added spice.
“Then they paid their highest-ever celebrity fee to bring in Pamela, but that was an absolute disaster.
“They even had a celebrity romance between Samia Ghadie and Sylvain Longchambon, which usually boosts ratings, but that had no effect.
“It will be a big decision for ITV, because 6.7 million viewers is not to be sniffed at in this day and age.
“But the Sunday-night slot is as primetime as it gets and they’d be expecting more people to tune in.
“A show like Downton Abbey was consistently topping 10 million viewers and the X Factor results show does the same.
“Getting beaten by Countryfile is not good news and will have been a bit of a wake-up call at ITV.”
Dancing On Ice returns tonight for ‘Love Week’ and much is being made of the rumoured romance between Samia Ghadie and Sylvain Longchambon. The pair will be skating to ‘I Will Always Love You’ this evening.
Would you miss Dancing On Ice if it was cancelled? Do you think ITV should give it another year? Leave your comments below…